Brewers fan receives heart transplant from Cubs fan, throws out first pitch

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Heartache for one family became the gift of life for another.

One year after a man in Milwaukee got a heart transplant, his journey came full circle when he got to meet the family of the man who gave him his heart -- at a baseball game of all places.

"I've been blessed with a great match," said Tom Schroeder who received the heart transplant.

It's been one year since Schroeder was given a second chance at life, reported WITI.

"It was very special. It was like we were soul brothers," Schroeder said.

In need of a heart transplant, Schroeder spent 50 days in the hospital before doctors found a match last August. His new heartbeat came from 32-year-old Joshua Holland.

"Lots of thanks and prayers and gratitude," Schroeder said.

Three months after his surgery, Schroeder wrote to his donor's family and received a six-and-a-half page letter back.

"It was titled, 'My Heart's First Journey,'" Schroeder said.

Among the many things Schroeder learned about Holland was that his donor was a Cubs fan.

Being a Brewers fan himself, Schroeder said it was only fitting to meet Holland's family at Miller Park ahead of Saturday's Brewers and Cubs matchup.

"He's embodying my uncle, so I see my uncle in him," said Holland's niece Jerzie Wilkerson.

Wilkerson joined Schroeder to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, with Wilkerson throwing to Craig Counsell and Schroeder to Joe Madden.

"It's incredibly touching and to be honest, I've never seen that in all of my training for the donor family to be reunited with the recipient," said heart surgeon Dr. Eric Weiss.

The families set a storied rivalry aside to write a new chapter of their own.

"I'll be watching the game with my new family," Schroeder said.

The beat went on through an unlikely match that, turns out, was just right.

It's been one year since the heart transplant and Schroeder is doing very well.